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Recap: C-GEM chats careers with industry chemists

On Monday, C-GEM hosted two chemists from industry to chat about their career paths: Dr. Julia Lazzari-Dean and Dr. Ara Abramyan. Dr. Lazzari-Dean is a microscopist working at Calico Life Sciences and Dr. Abramyan is a computational chemist at Schrödinger and a C-GEM Seed Investigator. Over the course of the hour, students and postdocs learned about how our panelists made the transition from academia to industry and what life is like for an industry scientist. 

Some general takeaways are below: 

  • Think about skills that you can learn during your PhD/postdoc that will help you in industry (coding, experimental techniques, etc.). If you’re not sure where to start, take a look at some job postings that interest you and see what skills are listed. 
  • Build and use your network. Do informational interviews early in your job search to learn more about different jobs and identify what companies might be a good fit. You should go in with background knowledge on the company/role and use this opportunity to fill in blanks. These interviews go both ways – be ready to talk about yourself with a brief elevator pitch! 
  • There are a lot of different jobs in “academia” and “industry” – take advantage of career events to learn more about specific careers. Within industry, working at a startup will be very different than a mature company, customer-facing roles will be very different from development roles, etc. Try not to focus too narrowly during your initial job search; be open exploring different roles and organizations. 

A huge thank you to Drs Lazzari-Dean and Abramyan for their time and their insights – it was a pleasure to learn from you!

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